Seal of the U.S. Congress

Why You Should Vote for the Other Candidate

The American public’s satisfaction with the members of both the Senate and the House remains at all-time lows. Party affiliation makes almost no difference although each side, opportunistically, blames the other’s members for the bulk of the problems. The idea that all politics is local has never been truer. Every voter seems to think that all Congresspersons are corrupt except for the one they put in office.
Here are seven reasons to elect someone, anyone, other than your own congressman. Vote for the person from the other side of the aisle if it will just get you a new representative. An entirely new crop of members might be unorganized and unable to legislate very much but that, in actuality, is the idea. Indeed, the government which governs least, governs best.

Money Makes the Congress Go RoundCredit: wUserJJ$165,000 is the base salary for any member of Congress. Bear in mind that they only work half of the year by legislative fiat and during that time they are accorded almost kingly stature. They have exclusive use of hallways, elevators and meeting spaces that are ostensibly part of the public space of governmental buildings. The general public should not intrude in these hallowed halls or they risk arrest.

In addition, the members of Congress can co-opt any space on the flimsiest of excuses as was done when a staffer realized that a Senator had forgotten the birthday of one of his children. A scheduled tour group was unceremoniously ushered out and a hastily organized birthday party of a twelve year old was conducted.

Aside from legislative duties, you congressperson has no other express duties. They could meet with their constituents but instead usually spend the time with more profitable pursuits involving lobbyists.

In their defense, it is often stated, most usually by the members themselves, that they could make far more money in the private sector and that they only take the job as representative to serve their country. Honestly, it is a travesty that they should be so horribly mistreated. It is only honorable and fitting to repay their devotion by not voting for them again so that they can reap the benefits of their most remarkable talents…in the private sector.

Office & Staff Budget
Substantial amounts of money to pay for everything from staffs, security and limos are disbursed in an essentially unregulated office budget to every member of Congress. There is really no evidence of oversight on these disbursements as demonstrated by the various “franking” scandals that had erupted in Washington D.C. every couple of years. Franking is essentially free mail delivery. Obviously, it is not as important as it once was, but Congress does its best to milk every penny from the least of its perks.

These funds do not even include the massive amounts of money spent to feed the members, their staffs and their constituents on days when Congress is in session. In addition, Congressmen receives an expense allowance without limit for such things as taxi and train rides, phone calls, stationery and “other” expenses. It almost goes without saying that if you or I ran our business or personal life like this, we’d be broke in two weeks. Wait a minute. We, the people of the United States of America, are broke.

The members of Congress actually think that the country cannot get along without them. Who will we name buildings after? Between paid junkets, campaigning and scheduled days off, the members of Congress only spend 28 ½ weeks at work. By the way, they don’t get vacations, they get “non-legislative time off,” 23 ½ weeks of it.

As an added bonus, their travel to and from the capital and their home state is completely covered by your tax dollars. In addition, they always fly first class, can delay flights and routinely bump paying customers if they forget to make the necessary reservations or just change their minds.

Not incidentally, their staffs do not labor under such illusions. They are typically required to staff the offices of their bosses even when there is no evident work to do.

Most Americans don’t realize it but Congress routinely exempts itself form every law it passes. The Equal Opportunity Act,  the American’s with Disabilities Act and the new health care initiative do not apply to Congress.

In one famous case, a Congresswoman, when presented with the fact that her 80 percent of her staff was composed of young white males, stated that she would define her hiring practices as racist. In addition, in their most blatant show of disrespect for their constituents,  the members will maintain their own publicly supported, private health care plan. It simply boggles the mind.

Almost unbelievably, pensions are available to some members of Congress after only five years. This is an “extreme” case as more typical member with twenty years of service would only be eligible for a pension of $90,000 per year.

Another extraordinary feature is that the pension benefit cannot be revoked for any reason. In 2003, Congress ensured this result through legislative means. Though they had, themselves, expelled a member, they had to consider whether or not he was entitled to his pension.  After a fierce and protracted struggle of three minutes, they decided to not allow the forfeiture of his or any other members pension.

The sense of entitlement by most of the members of Congress is galling in the least and probably illegal at worst. Some trade futures contracts like pros on their first attempt while, as a whole, the Congress has a better investing track record than the best hedge fund managers in the country. It would be funny if it wasn’t so transparently self-serving on their part. They do not like level playing fields when it comes to reelection or any other area that they consider their purview. A fair election? It is simply beneath them and too difficult to comprehend.

The Bottom Line
There are 435 + 100 reasons to relieve our country of the burden of these malfeasant and reprehensible representatives. Undoubtedly, there are a few who would serve admirably, but the process and the ingrained bureaucracy prevents them from having any real relevance. It is high time that the entire membership of the Congress of the United States was completely turned over to a new group of members.